Category Archives: Humor

Shakespeare In The Park

Every Summer the Public Theatre puts on an eight week showing of Shakespeare In The Park. They have a beautiful, intimate stage nestled in Central Park. The stage is open to the elements and only seats about 1,500 people. Tickets are free and every person in line is eligible for two tickets. But getting in that line, well…

Recently the Public Theatre has been putting together outstanding casts for their Shakespeare In The Park showings. This summer featured actors like Al Pacino, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Jesse L. Martin. Between the cast and the amazing reviews, the interest in the theatre has seen a drastic spike. I decided to camp out the night before the closing performance to stake my place in line and get tickets.

I camped with two of my friends- we showed up around 11:00pm (Saturday night) at 81st and Central Park West loaded up with a tent, sleeping bags, a cooler of Belgian beer and a bag full of deli sandwiches. Oh, and the dog came too. We spoke to a haggardly looking woman who told us quite bluntly that she was first in line. We thought we would be camping inside the park, but she enlightened us on this as well. We would, in fact, be camping on the sidewalk along Central Park West until 6am, at which point we would then be transferred into the park where we would wait in line some more until tickets go on sale at 1pm.

And so we walked to the end of the line which at this point was between 86th and 87th. There we pitched our tent as the line continued to build behind us. It became quite clear that this was a dog-eat-dog line with strict rules- like no one was allowed to join the line, nor was anyone in line allowed to leave for long periods of time. The deal with tickets is this: the theatre gives out an unknown number of tickets each day, usually between 400 and 1,200 tickets depending on how many “donors” received their tickets first. At this point we were about 300th in line. Crazy lady #1 had been waiting since 4pm. We were camping on the streets of NYC to be in a line that didn’t guarantee us anything. Hmm…

We woke at 5:30am after a few shaky hours of sleep. The street lights didn’t go off until about 5am. So strange to be camping around concrete and lights. We were hurriedly shuffled into the park at 6am where threw our sleeping bags down in the grass and tried to sleep again. The line was the most eclectic group I have ever seen- crazy #1 up front, then groups of homeless, scalpers, and crack heads (I’m talkin crack viles laid out in the open) mixed between college students, people on macbooks, hippies, older people, you name it. And the gear people brought to lay on was just as eclectic- anything from cardboard boxes to blow-up mattresses to actual full-size mattresses to chairs and living room furniture.

When the line finally started moving around 1pm, tensions were high. A lot of people were pretty upset with the groups of scalpers who would be turning around and selling their *free* tickets for $300 a pop. A lucrative endeavor, sure, but a disgrace for “public” theatre to be supporting crack habits. When we got close to the box office, they actually ran out of tickets, but we got #40 and #41 out of 50 vouchers. What happens is at 6:30pm, we were supposed to come back, and vouchers get (in chronological order) any cancellation and/or open seats. If all the vouchers are sat, the people left in the standby line get seated.

So we came back at 6:30pm and waited. And waited. The show started at 8:00 and by 7:55 it looked pretty hopeless. The scalpers (some of which had front row center seats) were getting desperate, but many of us were irritated and did our best to interfere with business by shouting things like “don’t buy from scalpers.” They didn’t appreciate us so much, and I got a little concerned when someone said “scalp the scalpers,” followed by, “ya, kill the scalpers.” Rut roh!

But just as the show was starting, the guy from the box office came out again, this time with a big stack of tickets. After 21 hours of waiting, we finally had tickets in hand and were ushered into the theatre. We were pretty delirious at this point since we really hadn’t slept at all, but somehow it all seemed worth it. The theatre was beautiful, the cast was amazing, and there we were, on closing night of Merchant of Venice with FREE tickets. From here the play will go to Broadway, but nothing beats waiting in line with NYC’s finest…

Waking up in Central Park

Guy from a nearby deli selling egg sandwiches

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Filed under Humor, NYC, Story, Storytelling, Travel

Bohemian Caterpillar

Ok, he’s a bit hard to see but I still think this little dude is one of the coolest caterpillars I’ve ever seen. I used to play with these things all the time but they were always black on the end with a copper middle. They hung out on the anise plants that grew along the fence of my grade school. Not sure if this one is a different species or just an odd ball. Maybe he’s just trying to be like the bohemian babes all around 5th Ave where I found him hanging out. I guess even NYC caterpillars have an image to keep up…

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Filed under Humor, Nature, NYC, Travel

You Know You’re in New York City When…

10. You see monks in Penn Station carrying iPhones

9. Bud Light is $8 a pint

8. Two women casually walk down the streets of Washington Square Park in nothing but their panties and bras

7. You fail to notice the bloody crime scene as you exit the subway from your morning commute

6. As a white person, you feel like the minority

5. A bag search from the NYPD is more of an irritation than a cause for concern

4. Swimming topless at Coney Island just feels like the right thing to do

3. You see the “I have no legs” guy from the movie KIDS on the subway. He really has no legs

2. Your yoga teacher verbally instructs a student to lower her heal “so it’s more like a pump than a stiletto”

1. A three-year-old girl can put any beat boy to shame

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Filed under Humor, Story, Storytelling, Travel, Yoga

Rosa Parks Didn’t Just Hit “Like” On Facebook

I’m not usually a fan of talk radio but this morning while driving in queens (not recommended) I caught a little blip of Hot 97’s morning show. The DJ’s were, to my surprise, talking about the oil spill. One of the DJ’s was critiquing how people are boycotting BP gas stations when those are franchised as small businesses and aren’t even really owned by BP. The DJ also mentioned that BP petroleum is used in tons of products, from shampoo to cleaning supplies, so there’s no way to track those all down so that we can actually boycott the company.

He continued to make a very good point. He said that when people hear about something like the oil spill, they get fired up and want to do something. So what do they do? They log on to facebook. And then they see the page “Boycott BP!!” And then what do they do? They hit LIKE! I mean, of course, who wouldn’t LIKE to show their support for a boycott against the evil BP whose products and services we can’t even keep track of?

Then, in a moment that completely changed my perceptions of DJs and morning talk radio, he said something brilliant. He said, “Rosa Parks didn’t just hit LIKE on facebook. If you really want to help with the oil spill, go to Mississippi or Alabama and scrub a pelican.”

What he was talking about is that if we are really passionate about something- really, actually, not just going to psuedo-support something on facebook worked up, then we need to ENGAGE. We need to physically move our bodies and do something. Granted, Rosa Parks didn’t have facebook. But even if she did, she probably would have been too busy fighting for what she believed in to “like” anything at all.

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Filed under Action, Challenge, change, Empowerment, Humor, Personal Growth, Politics, Story, Storytelling, Yoga

The Vanilla Ice Room

My Aunt Vicki is an amazing interior designer. Which, literally translated, means that she constantly redecorates the rooms of her house. I’m talking completely redecorate. Living room becomes computer room. Computer room becomes office. White wall becomes green. You get the idea. Every time I visit her house it is like walking into a new space.

During one of our visits there when I was just a kid she had the main room of her house decorated in a very cozy fashion- warm colors, soft couches, a big TV with an even bigger sound system. My cousins and I LOVED that room. The room is built slightly lower than the rest of the house so there is this little ledge on the front side of the room. In our minds that ledge was more like a diving board- maybe because we were smaller- or maybe because kids see the world like a giant playground. In any case, this was our favorite part of the house playground.

I remember us blasting Vanilla Ice’s “Ice, Ice, Baby,” as loud as we could while running and jumping off the ledge into the pool of carpet. We couldn’t get enough of that room, that song, that ledge…

The next time we came to visit we expected the living room to look different, because it always did, but when we walked in the door and looked at that room we were shocked. Everything was white. WHITE. It looked like no one had ever even sat in the damn room. It was accentuated with delicate furniture and decorations so precious they might break if you so much as looked at them.

We couldn’t believe it. What had happened to our Vanilla Ice room? We obviously would not be jumping off the ledge anymore. What were we supposed to do in this room, have tea and crumpets? I was destroyed. That trip had no exciting memories of Vanilla Ice and living room diving boards.

My aunt eventually redecorated the room- maybe because that’s what she always did, or maybe because she saw the looks on our face when our playground was destroyed. The room is cozy again and we still laugh about the tea room she created for lord knows what reason.

I think about how many Vanilla Ice rooms I have experienced in my life- spaces of sheer joy, play and imagination. I can only think about a handful of them when I compare that to how many tea rooms and fluorescent lights I come across on a daily basis. What I’m trying to say is that maybe we need to redecorate our lives every once in a while. Throw out the china you’ll never use, buy a diving board, and DANCE.

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Filed under change, Empowerment, Humor, Spirituality

Food Revolution

I’m not a huge fan of TV, but I am a huge fan of anyone who uses television to promote the desparate need in this country for a more conscious lifestyle. I was recently turned on to Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. It’s a reality series on abc that, thankfully you can watch on hulu because I threw my television in the alley. Jamie is a renowned (and adorable) English chef that decides he is going to revolutionize Huntington, West Virginia, the most unhealthy city in the US. I first watched the series thinking that Jamie’s revolution would be swift and relatively seamless, but I am boggled by the amount of resistance he encounters in trying to transform the way people eat. I would think that if someone asked, “Hey, do you want this completely processed frozen pizza or a fresh meal prepared from scratch by a world famous chef?” that the answer would be obvious. But as Borat would say, not so much…

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Filed under change, Empowerment, Food, Health, Healthy Eating, Humor, Nutrition, Personal Growth, Uncategorized